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The Mind's Eye 

Volume 7 Number 1 


The Mind's Eye is a journal of review and comment 
published four times during the college year 
at North Adams. Massachusetts 01247 

Copyright © 1982 by North Adams State College 

Fall 1 982 


Robert Bishoff 
W. Anthony Gengarelly 
Stephen A. Green 
R. Michael Haines 
Charles Mclsaac 
Ellen Schiff 


Charles Mclsaac 


W. Anthony Gengarelly 

Harris Elder 4 The Vidcvangelists 

How some network television ministries exploit 
spiritual need. 

Lea Newman 7 The Lightning Field and the Jar 

Art and nature in a unique bonding on the New 
Mexican plateau. 

Maynard Seider 10 Teaching "The 1980s: Which Way for Labor?" 

The Hood of memory and the rage to learn in a five-day 
course at Elderhostel. 

Herbert Matter 1 1 The Love of the Innocents 

The tortuous journey to mature love begins before adolescence. 


Hy Goldstein 10 Franklin Delano Roosevelt: In Memoriam 


Charles Mclsaac 2 The Editor's File 

Nuclear Arms: Freeze or . . . What? 

Shaping the future. 

The Editor's File 

Nuclear Arms: Freeze or . . . What? 

has mourned and receded by turns over the 
years. We have always known there would be 
"no place to hide." But we comforted ourselves. We 
trusted that the world is run by reasonable men who 
would not risk atomic warfare. For it would almost 
certainly result in their own deaths as well as outs. But 
something has changed. The fear is back. Our trust is 
gone. We are hearing things that do not make sense. 

Officials in our government assert that nuclear war 
can be "limited" and that it is winnable. They say it 
can be "protracted" and that it is survivable. There is 
such a thing, we are told, as "nuclear warfighting" in 
which we can prevail. For more than thirty years we 
have believed thai nuclear arms are political weapons, 
not military. Their sole value was though! to lie in 
the fact that they could never be used. This was the 
doctrine of deterrence based on mutually assured 
desiruction. Now we hear something quite different. 
But we cannot listen. For we are not persuaded that 
there is an escape from total disaster if a nuclear 
exchange is allowed to happen. The euphemism "ex- 
change" is by itself profoundly disquieting. It reveals 
a government thinking the unthinkable but unable 
to speak the unspeakable. We prefer to trust the 
insight of George F. Kennan in words he spoke at 
Dartmouth College last November: "This entire pre- 
occupation with nuclear war— a preoccupation which 
appears to hold most of our government in its grip- 
is a form of illness. It is morbid in the extreme. There 
is no hope in il — only honor. " 

Kennan declared his belief that the majority of us 
do not share the government's view, that we are 
not preoccupied with how to fight a nuclear war. 
And it appears he is right. Facts have emerged to 
show that we are preoccupied with a quite separate 
matter, namely, how to avoid nuclear war— and even 
further, how to put a final end to its threat. Early this 
year the Louis Harris organization conducted a poll 
(reported in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 
August/September 1982, and elsewhere) whose find- 
ings portray a people in broad disagreement with its 
government. Eighty-six percent of Americans want 
the United States and the Soviet Union to negotiate 
nuclear arms reduction. Eighty-one percent want the 
United States and the Soviet Union to agree to pro- 
duce no new nuclear weapons, provided there is a 
rough equivalence of such weapons today. By 59 lo 

38 percent they believe that equivalence does in fact 
obtain. This is a near-exact reversal of 1980 opinion, 
when by 57 to 37 percent the Soviet Union was 
perceived as being stronger than the United States— a 
remarkable turnabout in the face of the Reagan ad- 
ministration's persistent drumbeating of American 
inferiority. Finally, and perhaps most striking, 74 
percent of Americans want all countries that have 
nuclear weapons to destroy them. 

Harris, who has been taking polls for thirty years, 
regards these public attitudes as an "incredible phe- 
nomenon" because they are so overwhelmingly op- 
posed to official policy and are shared by people who 
tend to disagree with each other on almost everything 
else. The nuclear war issue, he said, "cuts t ight across 
the spectrum of social and political divisions in this 
country. It's an idea that will not go away. It's going 
to be with us until the final weapons are obliterated." 

And so this subject — the idea of our own extinction 
as a species, which Jonathan Schell in his Fate 
of the Earth has shown to be so exquisitely hard to 
think about and talk about — is being faced up to by 
many, many people and addressed as a problem that 
must be solved. Consider the alternative. Between 
them the United States and the Soviet Union have 
40,000 to 50,000 nuclear warheads, strategic and tac- 
tical, targeted on each other (and on Europe and 
China) in approximately equal numbers. We can 
destroy every major Russian city 35 times. The Rus- 
sians can destroy every major American city 28 times. 
The U.S. National Security Council has estimated 
that in a single general attack and counterattack the 
number of dead in the United States would be 
140,000,000 and in the Soviet Union, 113,000,000. 
Transportation systems, food systems, communication 
systems, health care systems would be wiped out. No 
trucks or trains would move, no planes would fly. No 
food would come except from the tainted crops in 
home gardens. Radio would give no sound, television 
no picture. Radioactive fallout would rain on the 
globe, poisoning the earth. As much as 70 percent of 
the ozone layer would be depleted, allowing the en- 
trance of lethal ultraviolet radiation from the sun. 
The few hospitals and clinics and doctors' offices still 
standing could do little for the survivors, who, as 
someone has said, would "envy the dead." No one 
can say for sure that the human race would survive 
this chaos. Civilization— society— would not. 


It is to the credit or the people thai they have 
brought themselves to gaze on this dread prospect 
and found the wit to deal with it with practical 
measures. The first step is to persuade both sides to 
stop where they are in the development of nuclear 
arms. The instrument used to bring this about is the 
Nuclear Weapons Freeze resolution. The Freeze move- 
ment grew out of the widespread conviction that 
current national policy is irrational and that it runs 
the gravest risk of bringing on the inferno. It had its 
formal beginning at a conference of thirty peace 
groups in January 1980 which endorsed a Freeze 
proposal drafted by Randall Forsberg, director of the 
Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, a 
four-page document entitled "Call to Halt the Nuclear 
Arms Race." In this was contained the 
original Freeze resolution which, with 
variations, has appeared in town meeting 
warnings, state referendum^, and legisla- 
tive resolutions: 

To improve national and international 
security, the United States and the Soviet 
Union should stop the nuclear arms 
race. Specifically, they should adopt a 
mutual freeze on ttie testing, production 
arid deployment of nuclear weapons and 
of missiles and new aircraft designed 
primarily to deliver nuclear weapons. 
This is an essential, verifiable first step 
toward lessening the risk of nuclear war 
and reducing nuclear arsenals. (Italics 

The movement, first seen as a long-range 
educational effort, virtually exploded in 
the lale winter and spring of 1982. By 
midsummer the Freeze resolution had 
been passed in 693 town meetings, city and county 
councils, and state legislatures. On August 5 it was 
turned back in the House of Representatives by a 
vote of 204 to 202 — a narrow decision influenced by 
hard administration lobbying. In September Wiscon- 
sin's statewide referendum approved it, three to one. 
Eight more states will vote on it in November. Mean- 
while, on June 12 the Freeze drew 700,000 people to 
a march and rally in New York City; it was the 
largest political demonstration in the history of the 
United States, 

How may wr. account for the Freeze movement? 
In simplest terms, what, has happened is that 
our overriding fear has made us transfer our trust to 
ourselves, the people, with a force and urgency so 
massive and unprecedented that the government will 
not be able to ignore it. Using the ballot, the move- 
ment respectfully commands the government's atten- 
tion. The president's unfortunate remarks of a few- 
days ago, to the effect that Freeze proponents, though 
sincere, are being exploited by unnamed (presumably 

communist) parties, are not likely to be repeated. The 
Freeze is not a short-term political game; it is for 
keeps. It is, nevertheless, politics in the purest and 
most serious vein because it concerns the conduct of 
the nation in the most momentous matter ever to 
confront the human race. For this reason Common 
Cause, with its 250,000 members and its powerful 
lobby, has joined the battle and committed its exper- 
tise to coordinate the drive for a nuclear STOP. It is 
conducting weekly meetings with the peace groups 
based in Washington and has set up citizen networks 
in all fifty states to bring Freeze-pressure on senators 
and congressmen. Common Cause is in it for the 
long term, and so are we all. The list of peace groups 
throughout the country is endless. 

Weighty objections and subtle distinc- 
tions will come from experts on all sides. 
The "iron triangle" of the executive, the 
military, and the defense industries will 
resist. The segment of the scientific com- 
munity which researches nuclear war will 
continue its disinterested journey of dis- 
covery, contributing to the "technology 
creep" wdrich increases the danger day by 
day. Thoughtful criticism is exemplified 
in a long article by the foreign relations 
scholar Theodore Draper, published in 
the New York Review of Books for July 
15, 1982. After dismissing the agony of 
Jonathan Schell, the pretensions of the 
nuclear freeze, the fecklessness of arms 
control talks, and the semantics of Bundy 
8c Co.'s no-first-use proposal (no first use, 
says Draper, means no use at all, which 
lays us open to attack), he comes down 
in favor of a self-imposed, minimal level of mutual 
deterrence which could lead to a comprehensive test 
ban treaty. Draper, it should be noted, is just as afraid 
of where current policy is leading us as anyone else. 

The question is of supreme importance. It sweeps 
aside all other questions. We search for an an- 
swer. There is a saying, variously attributed, "And 
this, too, shall pass away," which has always calmed 
the human spirit. The saying can no longer be said. 
The ground of human interaction has shifted. The 
atom split has changed our thinking, not so much 
because the atom was split — releasing on this cool 
plane! the lire of the stars — but because we who 
know not how to guide the stars did the splitting. 
What are we now to do, holding this blinding light 
in our hands? 

— Charles Mclsaac 

The Mind's Eve invites readers responses fr; the views expressed in 
tins editorial. 


Merchandising Religion on TV 

The Videvangelists 

by Harris Elder 

OKI Of the few pleasant experiences I had as 
a GI came accidentally, from an unexpected 
source. I was assigned to the funeral detail, 
which provided military honors for any soldier whose 
family requested them. In Sherman, Texas, the de- 
ceased were often black veterans with survivors who 
couldn't afford to honor their dead with elaborate 
burial ceremonies. Our spit-and-polish demeanor as 
we executed pallbearer duties and rifle salutes should 
have spruced up the physical environment. It did not. 
Even though Sherman's all-black churches were al- 
ways crumbling buildings in deteriorating neighbor- 
hoods, with furnishings as simpfe as the dress of the 
congregation, it was precisely that atmosphere which 
ennobled us. Somehow all our military gloss was 
dimmed by the genuineness of the songs, spontaneous 
yet performed as if painstakingly rehearsed, expres- 
sions of grief carried out with imperfect perfection. 
The melding of celebration and mourning peculiar 
to black obsequies made twenty white guys look 
rather shabby (in spite of our having passed inspec- 
tion), for we were in the presence of a real world of 
patient suffering, hope, and love which transcended 
the humble surroundings — and was light years away 
from a "religious" phenomenon which exploits the 
spiritual needs of many. 

tt is Sunday morning. The studio lights brighten 
A over a sparkling set. An impeccably dressed man 
pirouettes out from behind Georgian columns and 
sings into a prop microphone. Six Busby Berkeley 
princesses dance around the cheerleading man while 
the television picture alternates between him and 
each of these good-looking, well-scrubbed girls. The 
camera moves like an eighth performer. There's great 
fun in this glossy production. Is it a new Dr. Pepper 
commercial? Another TV ad for an exciting Broadway 
hit? Donny and Marie Osmond selling Hawaiian 
Punch? No, it's Richard Roberts, son of Oral, sales- 
man of happiness, prayer rugs, and anointing oil. 

The Oral Roberts show taps the best persuasive 
strategies found in other television advertising. Later 
in the program, we are treated to shots of the Prayer 
Tower at Oral Roberts University while we hear 
Richard's voice-over interview's with grateful consum- 
ers of Oral's TV ministry and readers of his latest 
book, Miraclrs of Steel-Faith. Crisp transitional music 
introduces a hand puppet who has learned (hat if he- 
reads God's news (included in the book), he'll under- 
stand his place in the Big Plan. The entertainment 

returns when the disco-tripping Richard lip-synchs 
another secularly styled religious song. This prepares 
us for an unrelenting parade of seductive commercials 
for Oral 'Roberts University. Slender students (the 
overweight must not approach Oral's altar) have 
assembled with pie-faced smiles in front of the Prayer 
Tower; these shots are intercut with more campus 
scenes, including television-assisted learning consoles 
and reaction shots of clean-cut students. Richard 
promises that "God has a way for you to get frotn 
where you are to where you want to be" at Oral 
Roberts University. Tranquil background music and 
soothing lyrics along with more shots of ORU and 
the Prayer Tower set the stage for another voice-over 
by Richard, extolling the virtues of the Roberts min- 
istry. This opening segment, designed to pitch the 
upcoming program to troubled people, culminates 
with ". . . and now, author, educator, and evangelist 
. . . Oral Roberts!" Oral's timing is perfect when he 
makes his entrance to taped applause, adulation, and 
the closing lyrics of a song: "Jesus of Nazareth is 
passing. . . passing your way!" Clearly, this man has 
a hotline to heaven. The Father, Son. and holy Oral 
on a cathode-ray tube. 

Volume ministries carried over electronic media 
enjoy huge budgets and opulent physical facili- 
ties, swolten descendants of the humble revival tent 
where Oral got the inspiration for Miracles of Seed- 
Faith, What became of the old-time canvas lent, 
where the saved and the to-be-saved could escape the 
damp heat of a summer evening? According to Oral 
Roberts, "air conditioning" is what happened. Tech- 
nology brings the comforts which God has provided, 
including the marvels of video, and the volume evan- 
gelists contribute brainpower to make it all pay off, 
The total capital investment for such religious insti- 
tutions as ORU, Rex Humbard's Cathedral of Tomor- 
row, Robert Sch tiller's Crystal Cathedral, Herbert W. 
Armstrong's Ambassador College, and Jerry Falwell's 
Liberty Baptist College tips the multi-million dollar 
scale, It also provides a forum where these TV minis- 
ters can flex their egos, which are as large as their 
new tents. 

"Oral, be different from other men. Be like Jesus," 
his mother advised the youthful Roberts. When asked 
how much Oral knew about psychology, one of his 
close associates replied, "Everything but what's in the 
books. He has an innate, uncanny ability to motivate 
people. It doesn't matter whether he's read about the 


psychological basis for motivation or not. He already 
knows it." And so on his show Oral promises that 
"something good is going to happen to you." Usual- 
ly, a statement precedes this which links Oral to that 
good: "Because I know that through Seed-Faith you 
can rise above your problems, something good is 
going to happen to you." He looks directly at the 
camera and points right at the viewer, emphasizing 
the word good. You can plant a seed for only $5, but 
credit cards are not accepted. 

What does it cost to be "like Jesus"? And what's the 
return? Roberts spends about $8 million a year just to 
buy television time. But with a mail room 
hanciling 20,000 letters per day, 90% of 
which include an average gift of $5, the 
expected daily return totals about S90, 000. 
That's $450,000 each week, J2S.400.000 a 
year. The additional money he receives 
from seminars and other television-pro- 
moted activities brings his gross to nearly 
$60 million. Other electronic religious 
"leaders" can expect similar returns on in- 
vestment. The Old Time Gospel Hour with Jerry 
Falwell spends a reported $14 million per year on radio 
and TV; the Christian Broadcasting Network spends $7 
million; the Praise the Lord Network and Rex Hum- 
bard each spend $8 million; Billy Graham spends $10 
million. For this outlay, the electronic churches bring 
in over $194 million per year in donations. Such a 
torrent of dollars argues that it pays to advertise, 

Who finances these videvangelists? ff a TV min- 
istry falls under the Federal Communications 
Commission category of public affairs programming, 
it must be given free air time. There are plenty of local 
religious programs on the air each Sunday; they're 
easily identified by the absence of artificiality — elabor- 
ate sets, deft editing, and, of course, appeals for 
money — characteristic of their income-generating cous- 
ins. Yet the vast majority of the regional and national 
audience sees "paid religion," televised mass ministries 
which exist without outside sponsors. Since they 
sponsor themselves, it's no surprise that they 're packed 
with sell-advertisement. Ambitious video ministers 
have removed a financial obstacle faced by local 
religious institutions whose congregations are limited 
by the size of the community they serve. For nationally 
televised religion can extend its message into homes 
everywhere on Sunday morning. And that expanded 
rommunity is the problem: these TV ministers can't 
really help anyone on a personal basis, so they end up 
providing little more than a spiritual narcotic, a 
temporary substitute which avoids the crux of their 
viewers' needs. 

11 these shows don't reach people in a traditional 
sense, wdiat's their appeal? Most of ihemshyarvay from 
hellfire and damnation. Just give God your best and 

expect His best in return. Your "best" means giving 
money that will increase your chances ol winning 
God's support, like putting more dollars into lottery 
tickets. A combination of lively style and digestible 
substance, calculated not to upset the viewers too 
much, capitalizes on that tantalizing and enduring at- 
traction of movies arid television, instant gratification. 
Push a button, and into your living room flows an 
array of varnished unrealities. And as viewers watch 
more, they want more, becoming willing victims of 
their own leisure. The contribution doesn't have to be a 
big one — just enough so you'll "join up"; once your 
dollars start rolling in, you'll be more 
inclined to keepupthegiving, toliveupto 
the compact after you've made that initial 
commitment. In fact, lots of "offers" on 
TV religious programming are sent free to 
get the ball rolling, so you'll stake that 
claim in your worldly and heavenly future. 
Your name also gets on the computerized 
mailing list, 
Oral Roberts epitomizes the approach. 
He exploits our hunger for satisfaction-on-demand by 
spewing out generalized advice in word-processed 
letters, as if God's mysterious ways work like a fast-food 
business. God is always available to meet your needs if 
you'll show faith by giving to Oral. Why wait to reap 
your rewards in the hereafter if they'll slide down a 
stainless steel chute like a Big Mac? You won't be 
quickly satisfied in the church down the street, but 
immediate results will come from money mailed to 
Tulsa. Need categories for which "individual" letters 
have been prepared areentered into a computer memory 
containing names and addresses of those who have 
responded to past appeals; eventually the right letter 
will reach enough of tfiis "congregation" to turn a 

Oral's closing message promises that he will "pray 
that as 1 stretch forth these hands which I've given to 
God, that a miracle in your finances, in your health, in 
your marriage, and in your relationships with people 
will begin to happen now, this very day. at this very 
moment. Amen and amen." Then it's lime to change 
the mood and close the deal: "When you write," Oral 
coos, "tell me about your problems. I love to hear from 
you. Your letters mean so murh to me and Evelyn. And 
I'll answer your letter. I answer ail my mail and I pray 
over all your letters. And now, as you go through tfie 
remainder of this week, remember these words: 'Greater 
is He Who is in you than he wdio is in the world!' " As 
this "prayer" ends, background music swells up, 
followed by a catchy tune which concludes the show. 
Then it's time to write to Oral Roberts for his latest 
book, and to include a check. Do it now! 

Compared to Oral Roberts University and its Prayer 
Tower, Rex Humbard's Cathedral of Tomorrow re- 


sembles a iract house, but this good ol' boy, he's no 
quitter. Rex needs more money to invest in Ohio 
girdle manufacturing, so he decided to start him a 
TV church. After an opening montage of Cathedral 
of Tomorrow scenes, out comes a buxom singer 
wearing a ruffled pink and blue dress and diamonds, 
loser of the Dolly Parton Look-Alike Contest. Then 
Rex's voice echoes in the Cathedral (or is it on the 
audio mixer?) to prime us for the latest hybrid of the 
old-fashioned prayer-rug pitch, "snapshots" of his 
daughter's wedding — on the show, of course — to Dan 
Darling. Family ties are "God's number-one institu- 
tion," Rex tells us, and along with those pictures ol 
Dan and Liz he'll send a copy of his recent book How 
to Have a Happy Home. Last week's broadcast fea- 
tured the wedding itself, with Maude Amy Humbard's 
pious tears and plastic hairdo. She'd brought along 
sample vials of anointing oil for our inspection. Rex 
himself was all gussied up in a black tuxedo. He's 
still wearing it this week, but the wrinkles have been 
pressed out. (Or are his shows for the month all taped 
in a day?) There's something off- 
key about Rex in his black tux, 
asking in his quaky voice, "Are 
you sure you're going to meet God? 
Let me tell you now, buddy boy, 
you better prepare!" But it's easy 
to get admitted to the Kingdom: 
lor a ten-dollar contribution you 
"are loved." 

Humbard's occasional warn- 
ings of fire and brimstone 
(don't worry, they've cooled down) 
appear noivhere on the Hour oj 
Power. The Reverend Robert Schul- 
ler uses Possibility Thinking, a 
variation of Seed-Faith, to promise 
results in the here and now. With 
Possibility Thinking you can do 
anything you want to do, maybe even drive a Mercedes 
450 SL. All that's required is to listen to Schuller, 
send for his books, and enclose money. Far from a 
hip-pocket operation, Hour of Power is a slick pro- 
duction which makes for comfortable viewing. And 
you won't be bothered with burning-in-hell prospects 
on this country-club extravaganza of affluent Califor- 
nians sporting new clothes and elegant coiffures. 
Schuller's "tent," called the Crystal Cathedral, looks 
more like a mammoth Waterford decanter than a 
place where humble worshippers offer religious sup- 
plications. Hour of Power uses multiple cameras, live 
and taped insert shots, complicated editing, grandiose 
music which sivells the heart and thins the wallet, 
tugs at those emotions. In the opening sequence of 
each show, exterior shots of the Crystal Cathedral 
and grounds are edited into all the Lord-praising 

inside. Schuller wears a robe and hood more like 
those of an academic than a clergyman. His unctuous 
voice is perfect, so much so that when he first appears 
on the balcony overlooking the congregation, he 
sounds almost like a self-parody. Later, on the main 
stage, he asks his audience to "turn around, shake 
hands. God loves you and so do I." Those Califor- 
nians love this relaxed socializing, at least the ones 
Hour of Power's, video editor lets us see. Out West, 
it's an "experience." 

The West Point choir has brought its trumpet 
section; shots of singing cadets are spliced into the 
fanfare using equipment which would rival the video 
mixer seen at the beginning of Johnny Carson's 
show. As a testimony to the power of Possibility 
Thinking, one cadet whose parachute had failed to 
open tells his story of prayer and promise if he were 
spared. Possibility Thinking made the upwinds fa- 
vorable and placed cushioning tree branches between 
the cadet and the unforgiving ground. Next comes 
the morning offering. An off-camera announcer ca- 
joles the congregation on to more 
giving while skillfully orchestrated 
music inspires folks even further 
and muffles annoying coughs and 
movement. The Hour of Power tech- 
nicians milk the offering for all 
it's worth, alternating long, med- 
ium, and close-up shots of the most 
generous members of the congrega- 
tion, expanding those present into 
an even larger crowd of eager con- 
tributors. An inexorable spirit of 
giving is sweeping the Crystal Ca- 
thedral. "I'm going to feel good 
today," exhales Schuller, who's just 
seen the tithing on a television 
monitor. With a toothy smile, he 
offers us a free coffee mug printed 
wtth his feel-good motto. A brief 
musical interlude by Toby and Barb Waldowski helps 
us to "enjoy life to its fullest." Nearly everything 
about Hour of Power is aimed at enjoyment, with 
lots of emphasis on the positive, a video update of 
Norman Vincent Peale. The Waldowskis may be 
unfamiliar, but Schuller has a bag of names ready to 
drop: he knows Doris Day personally, and tells a cozy 
anecdote about her husband's success using Possibility 
Thinking. The closing "Amen" enjoys more high 
quality production values. Hour of Power represents 
the ultimate in religious pop-aesthetics. 

As entertainment, these elaborate television pro- 
ductions make old-time religion look rather pal- 
lid at first glance. And who wants to bother with 
getting dressed and going to church to be saved when 
it's easier to flick a switch in living-room comfort? 


But there's a refreshing lack of polish in the texture 
of real-life evangelism that gets losl in the slick 
Sunday-morning programming. Without the latest in 
audio and video editing, props, and canned content, 
religion for sale would practically disappear. It needs 
elaborate production to hide its spiritual poverty, to 
fill the evangelical void created by self-advertisement. 
The desperate folks who watch for solutions to alco- 
holism, loneliness, divorce, poverty, and terminal 
illness have been lulled into equating camera work 
with God's work and voice-overs with the voice of 
God. Being fooled into believing that the evangelist 
on the lube is solving their problems only compounds 
their desperation. The more they tune in, the more 
they are not helped; the mote desperate they become, 
the more they tune in. TV evangelism is self-propa- 
gating propaganda which convinces a vulnerable aud- 
ience that its real needs are being met even though 
these shows do little more than tease viewers into 
prying open their pocketbooks. 

Some preachers, like Jimmy Swaggart, refer to 
their TV work as "world-wide ministries." That may 
be one of the most accurate statements made on these 
shows. With the expansion of cable and satellite TV, 
the world may be the only limit as the "message" gets 
translated into several languages. But on the national 
and international scale, it's hardly the individual 
who counts, except for his $5 contribution. In Sher- 
man, Texas, the coffin remained open throughout 
the service while a beat-up and out-of-tune piano led 
the singing. How ivould those shots look edited into 
Crystal Cathedral splendor? The rank exploitation of 
believers on Sunday morning, executed with a cun- 
ning so disingenuous it smacks of mockery, should 
give the observer of televised counterfeit religion plen- 
ty of fuel for indignation. 

Harris Elder, assistant processor of English at North Adams 
State College, grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, fifty 
miles north of Oral Roberts s Prayer Tower. 

Art and Nature Revisited 

The Lightning Field and the Jar 

by Lea Newman 

When my daughter promised me an unusual 
art experience during my visit with her in 
New Mexico, I was not prepared for possible 
encounters with rattlesnakes or for a mandatory twen- 
ty-four hour stay in an isolated log cabin — or for any 
of the other happenings that are part of viewing an 
art object called The Lightning Field. Linda's letter 
referred in very general terms to a piece of land 
sculpture located a few hours from Albuquerque. She 
well knew that her sketchiness would arouse my 
perverse taste for adventure (I am a pushover for 
mysterious unknowns). I accepted her invitation by 
return mail, thereby consenting to a journey toward a 
wholly unexpected epiphany. The weekend I was to 
spencf on a remote, semiarid tract of ranch land in 
west-central New Mexico would become the most 
perplexing and disturbing, yet the most strangely 
satisfying, aesthetic encounter of my life. 

Previewing information about The Lightning Field 
came from the Dia Art Foundation in New York, the 
organization that commissioned and maintains the 
work. Although the memorandum concerned itself 
primarily with the practicalities of confirming reser- 
vations and of finding the foundation office in Que- 
mado, it included some stipulations that immediately 
suggested this was not going to be a conventional 
tour of an art gallery. The Field had to be visited over 

at least a twenty-four hour period, and visitors — who 
were to number no more than three at once— were to 
spend one or two nights at a former homestead 
adjacent to the Field where food and lodging would 
be provided. (Our guide informed us later that many 
visitors came atone.) A foundation vehicle would pro- 
vide transportation from the Quemado office to the 
site of the Field, an hour's ride away; we were to 
arrive in Quemado at 1:00 P.M. and to plan to leave 
the Field at noon on the day of departure. 

IT was not until I was seated in the back seat of 
Linda's ancient Volkswagen bug on a three-and-a- 
half hour ride out of Albuquerque that I again re- 
alized that 1 did not know what we were going to see. 
But my questions about The Lightning Field fell on 
deaf ears. Both Linda and her friend Roger Sweet, the 
conceptual artist and teacher who had generously 
shared his invitation with us, refused to offer any 

My own work in literary criticism had led me into 
the olten ohscure realms of aesthetic theory. I had a 
general notion of what experiential and conceptual 
art involved. Apparently, The Lightning Field was 
going to combine both of these nontraditiona! ap- 
proaches to art. Roger, who knew more than he was 
telling, and Linda, who always enjoyed surprising 


me, diverted my attention to the breathtaking scenes 
that surrounded us. The grandeur of the mountain 
ranges and the vastness of the sky above them pre- 
empted my discussion of artistic theory. I silently 
remembered Emerson's reference to the Andes as "tem- 
ples" (in his poem "The Problem") and I understood 
more completely than ever before why he concluded 
that "Art might obey, but not surpass" the beauty of 
nature. I did not know then that The Lightning Field 
would make the distinction irrelevant. 

Abruptly, we were in Quemado, a half-hour ahead of 
schedule. The almost deserted town (population, 250) 
had one open cafe where the Dia Foundation guide 
spotted us almost immediately. We were soon on the 
last leg of our journey, and it did not take long to realize 
why the foundation provided its own four-wheel drive 
transportation: the VW would have foundered on the 
ruts and patches of red mud that we negotiated. 

"Must have rained last night," was our guide's un- 
concerned comment as we swayed and bounced in 
unison, four abreast on the seat of the pickup truck. She 
had been driving in this country all her life, she told us; 
all of eighteen, and entering Brigham Young Uni- 
versity in a few weeks, she was as matter-of-fact about 
the lerrain as about the red ants and rattlesnakes she 
nonchalantly warned us to avoid. I was beginning to 
sense the full implications of 
experiencing an "isolated 
work of land art." 

WF. came to a log cabin 
and assorted outbuild- 
ings, Behind them t beheld a 
wide expanse of clouds and 
sky over an empty landscape. 
Only later did I realize that I 
bad been looking directly at 
The Lightning Field but lit- 
erally did not see it. The 
explanation of this paradox 
is simple enough: in the art- 
ist's description of the work 
(Artforum, April 1980, pp. 
52-59) he writes that "during 
the mid-portion of the day 70 

to 90 percent of the poles become virtually invisible due 
to the high angle of the sun." A subsequent statement 
in Dc Maria's text is more enigmatic: "The invisible is 

Even as I stood there, the light shifted, the glare 
lessened— and the real became visible. Before me lay a 
grid of shiny poles in perpendicular rows. This some- 
times invisible work of art turned out to be 400 highly 
polished stainless steel poles arranged in parallel rows 
to form a rectangle one kilometer wide and one mile 
long, with sixteen poles in each kilometer-wide row 
and twenty-five poles in each mile-long row. The guide 

provided some of the specifics; the Artforum feature, 
others. Both sources confirmed my growing conviction 
that the invisible/real paradox was only the first of 
several coexisting contrarieties. 

ITS genesis revealed another set of contradictions. It 
is one man's conception, but it is the creation of 
many men other than the artist. The Lightning Field 
originated in a note by Walter De Maria in 1969, Its 
physical form was completed on November 1, 1977, and 
involved the work o(,surveyors, engineers, technicians, 
and construction teams, I remembered that in the 
tradition of the conceptual art movement the idea or 
concept of a work is its prime aspect; the execution 
becomes a mechanical task not dependent on the 
artist's craft or skill. In the case of The Lightning Field 
the posi tioning of the rec tang u far gri d, the elevali on of 
the terrain, and the placement and height of each pole 
were determined by an aerial surey, a computer analysis, 
and a land survey. Each pole was cut to its own in- 
dividual length within a tolerance of 1/100 of an inch, 
so that the plane of the tips would evenly support an 
imaginary sheet of glass. The poles range in height 
from 15 feet to 26 feel 9 inches, with the average pole 
height at 20 feet 7 1/2 inches. The spaces between the 
poles are accurate to within 1/25 of an inch. The poles 
are set in concrete founda- 
tions and have heavy carbon 
steel pipes as a core. In the 
most memorable of the con- 
struction photographs that 
our guide showed us the in- 
stallation crew, in dirt-cov- 
ered blue jeans and mud- 
encrusted boots, gingerly han- 
dled the stainless steel casings 
wearing spanking white 

Another of the paradoxes 
is the fact that The Light- 
ning Field is also nature's 
creation. In De Maria's 
words, "The land is not the 
setting for the work but a 
part of the work." Much 
time and effort were expended in finding the rigln 
kind of natural elements. The'siates of California, 
Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Texas were searched by 
truck over a five-year period before the location in 
New Mexico was selected. The terrain has not been 
altered to accommodate the sculpture. The plant and 
animal life that the habitat naturally sustains remains 
unchanged— including, our guide reminded us, its 
rattlesnake population. (Fortunately, I cannot vouch 
for the rattlesnakes personally. I was sufficiently ap- 
palled when I saw the emergency kit for rattlesnake 
bites among the first-aid supplies in the cabin.) 


The sunset that evening confirmed nature's hand 
in the rendering of The Lightning Field experi- 
ence, fn truth, it wouid have been an awesomely 
beautiful sight with or without the 400 poles it 
transformed into sheaths of gleaming copper. The 
mountains in the distance, the clouds overhead, the 
entire terrain as far as one could see turned brilliant 
shades of orange and red and yellow. But The Light- 
ning Field somehow appropriated the sunset and 
turned the most natural of phenomena into an inte- 
gral part of itself. The syzygetic effect was total. 
Again in Emerson's words, but in a different context 
front his, "I yielded myself to the perfect whole." 

The full impact of the contradictions in- 
volved did not strike me until the next motn- 
ing. My heightened response in the morning 
hours bore out Thoreau's maxim that "all 
memorable events . . . transpire in morning 
time." De Maria may have been guaranteeing 
a morning experience for every viewer when he made 
a twenty-four hour stay one of the conditions for a 
visit. Whether he was intentionally heeding Thoreau's 
injunction or not, he echoes another of Thoreau's 
favorite themes— the need to totally immerse oneself 
in an environment in order to fully experience it— 
when he points out that "the primary experience 
takes place within the Lightning Field." It did for me 
early that morning. 

As I walked among the polished posts, gazing 
down the mathematically precise rows on all sides of 
me, I had to stop occasionally to choose my footing 
on the uneven ground and to cast a wary eye out for 
rattlers. Patches of scrub grass dotted what would 
ordinarily have been grazing land, tufts of wildflowers 
bloomed haphazardly among the sparse vegetation, 
insects buzzed by, and tiny birds flitted about, every 
so often lighting on the the tops of the stainless steel 
poles. The contradictions once again merged into a 
unified whole as they had done at sunset the day 
before, but this time the immensity of the juxtaposi- 
tion hit home. The sculpture that surrounded me was 
a piece of art, by definition a man-created object, and 
of a different order of things from the natural phe- 
nomena in which it was set. The coterminousness of 
this man-conceived, technologically created thing 
with the spontaneously generated scrub grass, wild- 
flowers, birds, and insects jarred my sensibilities: the 
fertility, mutability, and chaotic randomness of na- 
ture somehow became part of the imposed order, in- 
fecundity, and fixed purposiveness of art. The poles 
would not multiply as the living things would, but 
neither would the poles die. In De Maria's Lightning 
Field both orders of things had achieved the kind of 
immortality we attribute to art. 

Asensk of deja vu nagged at me. Yet I knew I had 
never seen anything remotely like these paral- 
lel rows of shiny poles stretching out amidst the flora 
and fauna of the high ranch country of New Mexico. 

The strange novelty of the experience stirred a mem- 
ory of a perception previously acknowledged in 
another place and another time. In a flash the words 
came to me, "It took dominion everywhere. ... It did 
not give of bird or bush"— fragments of a poem 
about a jar atop a hill in Tennessee. Wallace Stevens's 
"Anecdote of the Jar" was the connection, and the 
relevancy was clear. Like Stevens's jar, the poles 
"took dominion everywhere" and "made the slovenly 
wilderness/Surround" them. In the same way, "The 
wilderness rose up to" the poles, "And sprawled 
around, no longer wild." The jar, wrote Stevens, was 
"gray and bare" and "did not give of bird or bush,-' 
Like nothing else in Tennessee." So it was 
with the poles of New Mexico: they did not 
bear lile, but they somehow absorbed and dom- 
inated it. 

■Lf Even more to the point was my ambivalence 
toward this isolated piece of conceptual land 
art. Was it, as some have concluded about Stevens's 
poem, a bad joke? What was I doing out in this 
deserted waste lookingat 400 poles meticulously mount- 
ed on the range? If it were as devoid of meaning and 
purpose as it most certainly was of practical useful- 
ness, why did it arouse a sense of wonder and awe in 
me? My last question answered my other questions 
because if it succeeded in being beautiful, in whatever 
sense, it warranted its existence. Its beauty was beyond 
dispute. Art needs no further justification. 

We left The Lightning Field, on schedule, that 
day at noon. The poles were once again dissolv- 
ing images in a shimmery haze. Euphoric, I took a 
final look, basking in the satisfaction that my first 
full-fledged conceptual art experience had been an 
unqualified success. I had seen The Lightning Field. 
and it was mine. 

"Too bad it didn't storm again last night," our 
guide commented as we bounced over the cow-path 
road toward Quemado. "You missed the lightning by 
just one night." Euphoric indeed! I had seen The 
Lightning Field sans lightning — and had not no- 
ticed. Three of the five photographs in the Artforum 
feature are of the field with lightning. But the article 
explains, "The light is as important as the light- 
ning." Good thing, too, since the number of lightning 
storms that pass over the sculpture is approximately 
three per thirty days during the lightning season, 
which lasts from May to early September. The odds 
are weighted heavily against seeing The Lightning 
Field with lightning. But no matter. The Lightning 
Field, with or without lightning, is an electrifying 
and enlightening work of art. Wallace Stevens, whose 
poetry reveled in the conundrum of art, might have 
found it a subject more evocative than a jar on a 
Tennessee hilltop. 

Lea Newman, professor of English at North Adams State 
College, is the author of A Reader's Guide to the Short 
Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne (C, K. Hall, 1979). 


Elderhostel at North Adams, August 1982 

Teaching "The 1980s: Which Way for Labor?" 

by Maynard Seider 

On the third day of class the hostelers were 
having a go ai Roosevelt, the man and the 
legend, Most remembered him fondly, even 
though they held differing interpretations of his polit- 
ical modvauon. Did he back the New Deal in order 
to avert rebellion and save capitalism, or did he push 
his reforms out of compassion for a needy people? 
Almost everyone had something to say about the 
thirties. One student reminded us of FDR's record as 
governor of New York, another could speak only of 
Eleanor, his wife, and a third recalled the grim de- 
termination of protesters sitting in at a New York 
City relief office. The discussion continued, some- 
times quietly, more often not. They policed them- 
selves, shushing one another and looking to the 
teacher for — if not the Word — at least a sentence or 
two on "The 1980s: Which Way for Labor?" 
Gradually the talk subsided. I suggested we move 

on to the '40s. We had miles to go before we'd reach 
the decade the course title promised, fn the middle of 
the classroom a hand went up. It belonged lo Hy 
Goldstein. Now a Floridian, Hy had been an admini- 
strator in'ihe New York Department of Social Services 
and had taught English and citizenship in the schools 
as well. His memories of Roosevelt went back to 1931 
when he stood with the rest of the student body at 
City College to hear the future president speak. Hy 
told us of a memorial poem he had written (or 
Roosevelt. He sent it on to Eleanor Roosevelt, and 
the two started a correspondence. The New York Fast 
published the poem, but the original rests in the 
library at Hyde Park. Meanwhile, the rest of us had 
forgotten about the '40s. We eagerly called on Hy to 
read his poem. 

And he did, in a clear, steady voice, one that 
affirmed the strength of the words he had composed. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: In Memoriam 
by Hy Goldstein 

Sleep, O savior, beneath the sod, 
The very earth on which you trod; 

In death you lie in peace, at rest, 
Embraced by God, close to His breast; 

Nevermore to hear the singing wren, 
Nor the venomous insults of puny men; 

Your hypnotic voice is forever stilled 
Admirers thrilled, opponents chilled; 

Never will the world forget 

Your deeds so great, to you its debt; 

Had God not spared you from the assassin's hand 
There would be chaos throughout the land; 

To a world in darkness you brought the light, 
To all you proved that right is might; 

May your spirit march on through eternity, 
Father of the World Fraternity. 

One is hard pressed to remember such a poignant 
scene in a college classroom. We clapped and 
congratulated Hy and felt good in his accomplish- 

Hy later told me that he had written about 150 
poems in all. In his spare time he still did some 
leaching down in Florida — English as a second lan- 
guage, So he hadn't retired. As far as education was 


concerned, none of (he other hostelers had. either. 

Our class continued the next day, moving right 
along, broaching new ideas, arguing and reconciling. 
By Friday we made it to the '80s, but not by much. 

Maynard Seider is assistant professor of sociology at North 
Adams State College. His hook, A Year in the Life of a 
Factory, will bf published in 1983 by Smglejack Books. 

Early Passion 

The Love of the Innocents 

by Herbert Moller 

Mark Twain reports in his autobiography 
that he was nine years of age when he 
became fascinated by one Mary Miller. "I 
fell in love with her when she was eighteen and I was 
nine — but she scorned me and I recognized that this 
was a cold work!. . . ,1 believe 1 was as miserable as 
even a grown person could be. But I think that this 
sorrow 7 did not remain with me long." 1 

There are other cases of prcadolescem boys experi- 
encing a haunting sense of enchantment by an older 
girl. G. Stanley Hall, the well-known American psy- 
chologist, wrote: "My first love affair had for its 
object a girl half a dozen years older than I who 
attended the academy for several terms with me. I 
thought her beautiful and admired all her acts and 
ways, . . . Once or twice I placed dainties in her desk, 
but I almost never dared to speak to her and she 
probably never dreamed of my devotion." 2 

Juvenile passion of this type does not appear to 
have received any attention in the books on love 
and sex that have been published in great profusion 
since the Kinsey reports. And yet it seems that many 
prcadolescem boys have experienced sudden, compel- 
ling, although usually fleeting, surges of love long 
before they were sexually mature. In historical per- 
spective pertinent individual recollections range from 
those of Peter Eberhard Mrjllensiefen, who was raised 
in an eighteenth-century German Pietist environment, 
to those of Claude Brown, who grew up in a Harlem 
slum in the 1950s. Both were eleven years old at the 
time of the incidents, as was Wilhelm von Kiigelgen, 
who wrote the most widely read nineteenth-century 
autobiography in the German language. 3 

In addition to autobiographical writings of the 
past 200 years there are the memories of living persons 
about such early love experiences. One of my cor- 
respondents with whom I had discussed this subject 
wrote: "1 have an indelible recollection of a brief 
infatuation witli an older girl. I was nine or ten years 
old when my piano teacher asked all her students to 
come together and perform in her home. The high 

light of that Sunday afternoon was a trio played by 
one of her students and his two sisters. The older 
girl played the cello. I looked at her in rapt attention, 
and now after some forty years I can still visualize the 
girl, maybe nineteen years old, with serene looks, 
playing the cello. At night in my bed I was borne 
down by a sense of hopeless longing. I never even 
knew the name of the girl and never saw her again. I 
did not speak to anyone about the experience and, I 
think, I had no words for it." 

Before the nature of these erotic attachments of 
children is discussed, one additional case should be 
mentioned. It is perhaps the most moving report 
among the cited autobiographical reminiscences be- 
cause the sentimental involvement of the boy dragged 
on for many weeks while be lived through the ex- 
perience more self-consciously than did the other 
subjects, for wfiom the emotional upwelling was a brief 
occurrence, Also, tie was already twelve years and one 
month old, a fact he remembered exactly in his adult 
years. The story is found in the autobiographical novel 
Niels Lyhne (1880) by the Danish writer Jens Peter 
Jacobsen. The object of this boy's love was his father's 
younger sister, Edele, who was suffering from consump- 
tion, at that time the common name for pulmonary 
tuberculosis. She had moved to her brother's home in 
the country on the advice of her physician to obtain the 
reputed benefits of country air, rest, and fresh milk. 

Niels became aware of his love all of a sudden 
when he handed Edele a bunch of cornflowers she 
had asked him to pick for her. From that moment on 
he felt painfully happy in Edele's presence. He never 
confessed his love to her or to anyone else, but the 
craving to worship her grew at times so strong that 
he stole into her room and pressed his lips on a 
garment or any other possession of hers he could 

Herbert Moller, professor emeritus of European history a! 
Boston University, has published in the history of European 
population and youth culture. He is now working on a 
book to be entitled Somatic Changes in the Past 400 Years: 
Growth, Sexual Maturation, the Human Energy Level, and 
Correlated Behavioral Development. 


find. Edele's health deteriorated rapidly. As the family 
expected her imminent death, Niels in the depth of 
despair knelt at the foot of his bed and with clasped 
hands prayed, "God, Thou must not take her from 
us. Oh, let her live; I will thank Thee and obey Thee; 
1 will do everything I can to pfease Thee; I will be 
good and never offend Thee, if only Thou wilt let her 
live. Hear me, God!" And so his prayer 
went on in breathless despair. But she faded 
away on that same day. God had not 
listened. 4 

The erotic feelings of children exem- 
plified in the foregoing reports are 
not on the same plane as the passionate 
attachments of teenagers, which have been 
celebrated in some of the great romances of 
world literature. Romeo was a few years 
older than Juliet, who was just turning 
fourteen at the time of their tragic love. 
Acis, the lover of Galatea, was sixteen; Daphnis was 
fifteen when Chloe was thirteen; Tristram was a hero 
nineteen years of age. In contrast to the exuberant 
love of these mythical teenagers and their compeers 
in real life, the erotic encounters of preadolescents 
with older love objects are remembered in later life as 
untimely and intrinsically hopeless and sad experi- 
ences. They are, furthermore, totally different from 
the sexual experimentation and playfulness in which 
two young children often mutually indulge. It is in 
fact the overtly nonsexual nature of these juvenile 
love attachments that makes them rather resemble the 
"crushes" of young people, especially adolescent girls, 
whose objects are usually teachers, youth leaders, 
actors, singers, and other public figures. In contrast 
to crushes, however, the experiences of preadolescents 
described in the autobiographic recollections are of a 
quiet and deeply personal nature, possessive and not 
shared with others. They have the seriousness of 
adult one-to-one relationships. Their prototype, in 
fact, is marriage. This was expressed, for example, by 
eleven-year-old Claude Brown in regard to the Vien- 
nese refugee woman he adored: "Lying in my bed 
thinking about it at night, I felt I had done some- 
thing crazy — 1 had fallen in love with the nicest lady 
I knew, and for no reason , . , . But I still wished that 
I had been married to her for all those years [of her 
past married life]." 5 

All the cases referred to in this essay are those of 
male children. This may be so only because of 
the limitations of the material under review and does 
not warrant any conclusion regarding gender dif- 
ferences. Also, there is no way of determining what 
percentage of boys have had such experiences. In a 
biological perspective all of the episodes occurred 
during the period of hormonal changes of the first 

stage of pubescence — between the ages of 9 and 12, 
that is — before the appearance of secondary sex char- 
acteristics noticeable to the lay person. It is during 
these years that the voice of the boy becomes more 
sonorous, but before it changes — or breaks — at the 
ages between 13 and 15. 

Psychologically it appears that the love objects of 
the preaciolescent boys in this study repre- 
sent images intermediate between the 
mother and 'a girl of an appropriate age. 
The image is projected from a boy's in- 
cipient need to detach himself from the 
mother as the desired object and to find 
another loved one. This need may well 
have become culturally tinged by the rise 
of domesticity in family relations since the 
eighteenth century, which involved a more 
\5i caring and tender attitude of mothers to 

their children than had prevailed in earlier 
times. 8 In a family environment of this 
emotional quality the affective disengagement of boys 
from their mothers became a task sufficiently onerous 
to evoke haunting anci conflicted longings for a sexual 
partner, half mother, half girl. 


1. The Autobiography of Mark Twain, arranged and edited 
by C. Nelder (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), pp. 79-30. 

2. G. Stanley Hall, Life and Confessions of a Psychologist 
(New York: Appleton, 1924), pp. 134-35. 

3. Peter Eberhard Mullensiefen (1766-1847), Ein deutsches 
Biirgerleben vor 100 Jahren: Selbstbiographie, hrsg. F. v. 
Oppeln-Bronikowski (Berlin: Stilkc, 1931), p. 25. Claude 
Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land {New York: New 
American Library, 1966). Wilhclm von Kugelgen (1802- 
1867), Jugenderinnerungen eines alien Mannes (Leipzig: 
Hesse 8; Becker, n.d.), pt. Ill: 2. Kugelgen's love object was 
a girl approximately his own age, which modifies his 
inclusion in these case stories. 

4. Jens Peter Jacobsen (1847-1885), Niels Lyhne (n.p., 1880), 
chap. 3. 

5. Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land, p. 92. 

6. Randolph Trumbach, The Rise of the Egalitarian Family 
(New York: Academic Press, 1978). Lawrence Stone, The 
Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500-1800 (New 
York: Harper 8c Row, 1977). chap. 6, "The Growth or 
Affective Individualism." 

The drawings in this issue are by Susan Morris of East 
Dover, Vermont, and Leon Peters of North Adams State